Milan Fashion Week: Gucci AW16
The magic of Michele
Day One of Milan Fashion Week kicked off with more than the usual dose of drama—a delayed flight (over 2.5 hours) into Milan from London meant that I was on the verge of missing the Gucci show but by some amazing stroke of luck, I touched down at Linate airport to text messages saying the Gucci show had been delayed by an hour, which allowed me enough time to rush through immigration, weave through midday traffic to make it to my seat, with time to spare.
For Autumn/Winter 2016, Alessandro Michele was inspired by a philosophical concept called 'Rhizome', developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their project aptly titled 'Capitalism and Schizophrenia'. "To inflame change, thinking has to be 'rhizomatic'", referencing the root-like stem of a plant that spreads horizontally, sending shoots upwards and creating roots below.
Sartorially-speaking, what that meant was an incredible variety for Michele's Gucci girl. It's been a year since his debut collection for Gucci and while his brand of geek chic and pretty femininity still prevail in the form of an oversized collegiate sweater with a large panther motif across the chest, and pastel-coloured tulle gowns, there was a decidedly mannish juxtaposition in the sleek suits and double breasted coats with oversized lapels.
Also in the collection were pieces with a touch of street, a collaborative effort with the artist Trevor Andrew, aka Trouble Andrew, aka GucciGhost, who has used Gucci's GG logo liberally in his work; in graffiti, street art and on vintage clothes. Here, a Gucci-embossed shopper bag was spray painted with the word 'Real' above the logo, a tongue-in-cheek reference to Andrew's own work.
While certain brands have announced major changes to runway presentations and are adopting a direct-to-consumer model, Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering, Gucci's parent company, has declared that they will be sticking to the traditional structure, as the new concept "negates the dream" of luxury and that waiting "creates desire". Judging by Gucci's growth in the final quarter of 2015, which was when Michele's first collection landed in stores, Pinault certainly knows what works for his brand. That red ruffled cape, metallic gold bomber and overload of pearl-encrusted rings? Guess I'll have to wait another six months.